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How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Thirst Aid 101: The Ultimate Guide on How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Sep 14, 2023

Sandy Stinson

Imagine it’s a sunny day at the local park. Your furry friend runs after a frisbee, its tail wagging with unbridled joy. As the heat from the sun engulfs the whole place, it’s easy to forget that Fido can’t simply grab a water bottle when thirsty. Dogs rely on us to keep them hydrated. Remember that good hydration is not just for comfort; it’s vital for their well-being. 

But the question is how to keep your dog hydrated. Read on to learn the tips and tricks to keep your dog hydrated - whether it’s a hot summer day, a breezy autumn afternoon, or even a long morning hike. 

How to Hydrate a Dog

How to Keep Dogs Hydrated During the Summer?

Dogs of all ages are prone to heat-related health problems, including dehydration and heatstroke. Learning to keep a dog hydrated in the summer is essential - avoiding issues later on. First, aim to provide Fido enough shade in the backyard, avoid outdoor exercises, and play during peak heat. 

With that out of the way, let’s dive into how to keep a dog hydrated in hot weather. Ensure your four-legged friend has abundant access to fresh water - inside and outside the house. Dogs only drink when thirsty and have a water source nearby, so provide them with constant reminders.

How to Keep an Energetic Dog Hydrated?

As a rule of thumb, your dog should drink one cup of water daily for every 10 pounds of body weight. Although this rule makes sense, it doesn’t consider your dog’s energy levels. Does it happen that you run out of energy on an evening walk with your dog, but your furry friend is still full of energy? That’s a sign that you’ve got a super energetic pup, and you should know the best ways to hydrate your dog. 

To prevent Fido from becoming dehydrated, you’ll want to carry a portable water bottle and a collapsible bowl with you whenever you leave the house together. Offer the little champ some water every 10 or 15 minutes during play and exercise. 

How to Keep a Dog Hydrated When They’re Pregnant or Nursing

Much like humans, pregnant and nursing dogs have an increased need for hydration as they nurture not just themselves but their puppies. So, while you’re busy providing your mama dog with all the nutritious food, remember to offer plenty of water, too. One thing to keep in mind is that your momma-to-be will become pickier during her pregnancy. 

That being said, remember to keep the food bowl away from the water bowl. If dogs are disgusted with certain foods, it may affect their water intake if the two bowls are next to each other. Getting familiar with all the ways to make sure your dog is hydrated ensures that your dog has an uncomplicated pregnancy and nursing period.

How to Hydrate a Dog That Has Obvious Signs of Dehydration

Are you worried your dog might be suffering from dehydration? You can run quick and easy tests to be sure. Hold some of your dog’s skin near its shoulder blades, gently raise it, and then watch it fall back into place. If your dog’s dehydrated, the skin will take longer to return to place than it will if it’s well hydrated. 

Another way to test for dehydration is by checking whether Fido’s gums are sticky and dry. Gently press your finger on your dog’s gum. It will leave a white mark on the gum. In well-hydrated dogs, the gum will return to its natural pinkness in seconds, while in dehydrated dogs, it will take well more than a few seconds. 

Lack of energy, appetite, vomiting, and extra panting can also be signs of dehydration.

Now comes the vital question: What to do if your dog is dehydrated? First try putting a bowl full of store-bought, low-sodium chicken or beef broth in their water- bowl.  If they still won’t drink, then consider it a medical emergency and reach out to the vet as soon as possible. The vet may administer intravenous fluids that instantly rehydrate the little one and prevent further issues. If your dog is not vomiting, you can introduce electrolyte-enhanced fluids, but you’ll still need to check in with the vet for proper dosage.

How to Keep Puppies and Senior Dogs Hydrated

Puppies and senior dogs need a little extra care regarding hydration. If you’re wondering how you can hydrate your dog if it falls into one of these age groups, the answer is quite simple. First and foremost, pay extra attention to its behavior and relationship with water. Is it picky about it? Does it go nuts for it? Second, check with a veterinarian to avoid any complications or health issues. Finally, make sure Fido’s water bowl is the proper size. 

How to Keep a Dog Hydrated at Home

Keeping a dog hydrated at home is as simple as it gets. You need a little dedication and minor monitoring. To ensure Fido has enough water to gulp down, put water bowls in several places around the house. This way, water will be available in whichever room your canine companion is in. 

Remember to also put a bowl or two outdoors for when the little rascal goes outside to soak up the sun. It’s worth noting that one of the most essential ways to hydrate a dog at home is to find the right-sized bowl. It makes drinking more manageable and more convenient. An adult Labrador, for instance, would have a hard time drinking out of a bowl meant for a Yorkie.   

How to Keep a Dog Hydrated on a Hike

Does Fido enjoy hikes as much as you do? Make sure your shared hobby doesn’t cause your dog to be dehydrated. Knowing how to keep a dog hydrated on a hike is essential for your dog’s well-being. Besides having a portable water bottle and a collapsible bowl on you and taking regular water breaks, consider letting Fido dip in natural pools of water if there is one; make sure it’s safe and clean, though.

How to Keep a Dog Hydrated When They Won’t Drink

Dogs don’t understand the importance of staying hydrated. They’ll only drink when they feel thirsty, and water is available right then and there. That is why your dog depends on you to keep it hydrated. But what if Fido refuses to drink or won’t drink enough? How do you get your dog to drink more water? Here are a few tricks to get your dog to drink more water. 

Dog Hydration Tips

Put Water Bowls All Over the House

As we said, dogs will only drink water whenever they’re thirsty, and there’s water available nearby. If you only placed one water bowl in the house, your doggo won’t be nearby when it feels thirsty. The best way to keep your dog hydrated is by having at least three bowls of fresh water available in several rooms. This way, Fido will be compelled to drink whichever part of the house it’s in. And don’t forget that the outdoor area is as important as the indoor area if your four-legged friend likes spending a lot of time there. 

Get Bigger Bowls

Another trick to ensure hydration for dogs is to buy more giant bowls. Depending on your dog’s size, Fido might need between four to eight cups of water daily. Make sure the next bowl you buy can hold at least a quart of water, especially if you’ve got a giant and more active dog that requires more water than average. 

Add Water to Your Pups’ Food

Not sure how to keep a dog hydrated when they won’t drink, and you’ve tried all the previous methods to no avail? A few more tricks are up our sleeve, and a few don’t even require drinking. An easy way to keep your dog hydrated is by adding water to its food - whether it's dry or wet food. For example, try adding equal parts of kibbles and water, and let the food soak for around 15 minutes before serving the bowl to your picky pooch.    

Install a Water Fountain

Does your pup get super excited around water fountains? Lots of dogs love running water. They may find it to be fresh, or they’re just attracted to its gurgle. Whatever the reason, installing a small water fountain at home could get Fido excited about drinking water. 

Make Tiny Ice Pops 

Still, trying to figure out how to keep your dog hydrated when it’s not interested in drinking water? Make ice pops. While some show little interest in drinking water, most of them love licking ice cubes. You can simply freeze water, or you can make it more interesting by freezing store-bought chicken broth...

Have Water on You at All Times

As we mentioned earlier, many dogs aren’t big fans of drinking water, and they may need your encouragement and constant reminders to meet their daily hydration needs. That’s why it is crucial to have water with you every time you leave the house with your furry friend. Whether walking, jogging, or even introducing Fido to new friends at the park, take a break every 10 to 20 minutes and offer your dog some water.

How to Keep a Sick Dog Hydrated

Offer Water Around the Clock

On days when your pup is under the weather, there’s all the more reason to keep it hydrated. Don’t just place a few bowls around the house; try offering your dog a drink by hand. The more you encourage Fido to drink on sick days, the higher the chances of you getting your dog to drink more water and its system getting rid of symptoms. If water isn’t doing the trick, you can always experiment with ice or fluids like coconut water or unsalted broth - but more later. 

Monitor Water Intake Levels

To avoid risking dehydration, monitoring your dog’s water intake is always a good idea. What’s more important is to check how much your four-legged friend drinks when it’s not feeling well. It is because the body needs even more fluids on days like these. If you cannot track how much your pup drank during the day, you could at least check for dehydration signs to take precautions. Knowing how to keep a dog hydrated when sick can go a long way in making Fido feel better. 

Seek Veterinary Help

The best solution how to keep a sick dog hydrated when it won’t drink enough water - is to head over to the vet. The last thing you need is dehydration symptoms above the illness itself. Pets who don't eat but only drink water when sick usually bounce back in a few days. Those who neither eat nor drink, however, need immediate veterinary help. The vet will restore your pup’s body hydration levels with intravenous fluids and even recommend how to move forward.

What Can You Give a Dog to Hydrate Them

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our fur babies won’t drink water. As a caring dog parent, you might wonder, "What can my dog drink besides water?" 

The options are plenty.

If plain water isn’t doing the trick for your dog, you can always try adding water to your dog’s dry food or even flavoring its water with low-sodium bone broth or fruit juices (from fruits that are low in sugar). Unsweetened cashew or almond milk will also do.

None of these may work if Fido tends to be fussy. So, what can you give dogs to hydrate them? Can dogs drink electrolytes? The answer to that is yes. Remember that moderation is vital, so you must know the proper dosage and the correct type. When in doubt, seek advice from a vet. 

Another great substitute for water is a smoothie. If you love it, chances are your pup will love it too - minus the added sugar and possibly the lactose. Keep in mind that dogs are lactose intolerant. Aim for a smoothie with green, leafy veggies, like spinach or kale. Ones that include juicy fruits, like strawberries or apples, can also be Fido’s favorites.

 

Dehydration in dogs can lead to severe and life-threatening conditions, which you’ll want to avoid as much as possible. That’s why it’s worth learning how to keep your dog hydrated from the get-go. While most dogs love water, some aren’t a fan. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your canine comrade drinks the required amount. Ultimately, being able to quench your dog’s thirst will keep its tail wagging with health and happiness.

 

More Questions? We've Got Answers!

How can I hydrate my dog quickly?

If you suspect your dog is mildly dehydrated, you must encourage it to drink small amounts of water every few minutes or lick some ice cubes. But if the dehydration is severe, consider an immediate trip to a vet. The vet can administer intravenous fluids that will solve the issue quickly.

What can I add to my dog’s water for hydration?

Keeping your dog hydrated can involve culinary creativity. You can make plain water more interesting for Fido by adding simple twists. One example involves adding low-sodium chicken or beef broth to your dog’s water. Other things you can add to your dog’s water for hydration are fruit juices, sugar-free peanut butter powder, and lactose-free milk. 

What foods hydrate dogs?

Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content. If you're wondering how to treat dog dehydration at home, the answer is fruits and veggies. Add watermelons, strawberries, apples, cucumbers, and zucchini to your dog’s diet. This way, you’ll guarantee your pooch gets enough water from food.

How can I hydrate my dog naturally?

Getting your dog hydrated naturally isn’t that difficult of a task. All you need to do is encourage Fido to drink by offering abundant water. Try adding water bowls all around the house. If that doesn’t help, install a doggy water fountain; dogs are fascinated by running water. Other natural ways to keep your dog hydrated involve smoothies and ice pops.

Can you save a dehydrated dog?

As life-threatening as dog dehydration is, treating it is straightforward. All you need to do is take your dog to the vet, who will administer intravenous fluids into your dog’s body to reverse the effects of dehydration. In mild cases, you can also treat dog dehydration at home by giving your dog sips of water every few minutes or offering ice pops to lick. Hydration for dogs is not that tricky; with a bit of effort, you can prevent Fido from ever being dehydrated in the first place.

How many cups of water does a dog need a day?

A general rule of thumb is to give your dog one ounce per pound of body weight. For example, a 20-pound German shepherd should drink around 20 ounces of fluids a day. Of course, there’s more to keeping a dog hydrated than simple calculations. Even though much of it concerns your pup’s size, you should always consider its energy level and the weather. On hot days, your super energetic pup might need more than recommended. 

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